Demand Artist Apologize for Killing 9,000 Butterflies As Part of Art Exhibit

Target: Damien Hirst

Goal: Apologize for killing the 9,000 butterflies used in an art exhibit

Killing in the name of art is unacceptable. After a twenty-three week run at the Tate Modern gallery in London, it has become clear that more than 9,000 butterflies lost their lives in the name of art. Damien Hirst, an often times controversial artist, created an exhibit where these butterflies were forced to live out the rest of their lives encased in two rooms, never seeing the outside world again. Every week a staggering 400 butterflies were brought in to replace the ones that had died.

The exhibit, entitled “In and Out of Love,” was part of a five-month retrospective of Hirst’s work. In the exhibit, spectators walked through a room of thousands of live butterflies. ‘The Telegraph’ reported that “the exhibit used butterflies of the Owl and Heliconius species, which come from tropical regions and live for up to nine months in the wild. Those used in the exhibition are believed to have survived for between a few hours and several days.”

Many of the butterflies died from being stepped on or were injured after inadvertently landing on viewer’s clothing and being brushed off. Even the butterflies that died of natural causes did not reach their full potential in the artificial environment.

The butterflies were contained to one room where they had access to fruit and sugar water until they died. Instead of living out their days enjoying the freedom of the outdoors, these butterflies ultimately died in a white room with no windows while more than half a million people watched. When the supposedly artistic value is taken out of the equation, these poor butterflies were treated as if their lives did not matter.

A spokesman for the RSPCA stated that, “there would be a national outcry if the exhibition involved any other animal…just because it is butterflies that does not mean they do not deserve to be treated with kindness.”

Hirst’s work often deals with the paradigm of life versus death, and this is not the first time animals have been used.  Because of this fact, he is no stranger to some variance in the reviews of his work. Some of Hirst’s most notable pieces include a shark preserved in formaldehyde.

Hirst has said that “a butterfly expert was employed at considerable cost,” but it seems as if the butterflies were the ones faced with the ultimate cost. Please sign the petition below to demand an apology from Mr. Hirst; it is the very least he can do.


Dear Mr. Hirst,

The blood is on your hands, so they say, of the 9,000 butterflies that died during your retrospective instillation at the Tate Modern gallery. This blatant lack of respect for living creatures is inadmissible. Not only did you shorten the lifespan of thousands of butterflies, but you forced them to live within the confines of a windowless room.

Despite your claims that you allowed these butterflies to comfortably live out their days, the number of deaths is too large to be ignored. And dismissing their deaths based on artistic value is simply repugnant. The very least you can do is apologize for the useless death of so many of these beautiful creatures.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. Trudi Williams says:

    That is an extraordinarly large loss of life. Butterflies are one of few natural pollinaters left the world is short of these with destuction of habitat and human intervention daily. I have always found Damian Hirsts work thought provoking this I find incredibly thoughtless and arrogant!You dont need to employ a butterfly expert to know this is wrong.

  2. Pathetic, mad, moronic, psychopath!!

  3. What kind of sadistic idiot is this person? Has he not ever been taught any kind of compassion? Or is he just an insane, egotistical, ‘look-at-me’,lacking in empathy type. He does not deserve to be called human. Normal humans realize that creatures are not to be used and abused in this way.
    Don’t come into my area because I have been raising and releasing butterflies for years and you would be banned by all real thinking, feeling human beings and driven out of town. An artist you are not.

  4. Debbie Moore says:

    Sir, I have to say that your killing of those butterflies disgusted me to no end. They are beautiful creatures of our earth and to some they feel they are loved ones returning to earth as angels. I am one of those people. And also,my grandson was born recently with an incurable disease known as epidermolysis bullosa, which is a severe skin disease that causes the skin to blister or tear at the slightest friction or injury. It is severely painful to say the least. They say that these babies skin is as fragile as a butterflies wing and the EB foundation has incorporated the butterfly in their campaign to find a cure for this horrendous disease. I’m asking you politely to try to find it in your heart to address this issue to the EB foundation with a sympathetic apology and a donation to the Debra foundation for a cure. In hindsight I’d like to think you feel terrible about the choice you made, in allowing this to happen. Prove me right by addressing the foundation. We all have compassion, could you show us you are not the exception.

  5. Diane Miller says:

    What is wrong with this person? Is he crazy? Murder for art? He deserves prison time for those actions!


  7. Terry Morris Terry Morris says:

    This man should be finned for doing this! This is abuse in my eyes!

  8. Nice Karma you made there for your self dude,enjoy!

  9. sick bastard.disect yourself ,now thats art..seeing u hang upside down….asshole.

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